I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about opinions. Whether critical, personal, general or specific, there is only one constant: There is no constant.

You can’t be a serious writer, screenwriter, musician, painter…human being…without becoming at some point hyper aware of the power of one person’s opinion. It can have a major impact on several arenas.

The big picture is that it makes the difference in what a given person’s expectations may be for another day, another year…or all eternity. Depending on their personality and level of emotional fortitude, it can break a person.  Or it can make them stronger, more determined, and ramp up their faith. Faith in God, themselves, and/or whatever star they need to wish on in order to keep their mental homefires burning.

The micro picture involves the everyday decisions we all have to make. I’ll use writer, but other creative types can fill in their endeavor of choice. Do I write today? Do I have to? Do I even want to? If I write it (whatever “it” may be), will they read? That literary dream at the root of it all. No actual cornfield required.

Ideally, the answer to all self-doubt, whether generated by outside booming voices or the nagging little voice asking you the hardest questions of your life, comes down to opinion. What others think of you and most importantly what you think of yourself.

Bottom line. Believe in yourself.

An opinion is just that one person’s take on one thing. The next person in line will likely say something entirely different.

An example I’ve come to depend on as my logic lodestone on the matter of how to take opinions when they are negative in ways big or small, is a review I stumbled across online earlier this year. It was about Anthony Hopkins’ CD, Composer.

The review eviscerated that heartfelt artistic creation as blithely as Hannibal Lecter guts a foe. It ridiculed. It seemed hell bent on crushing the soul out of one of the finest actors of our time. One I already knew to also be a fine composer and pianist. It was one of the most mean spirited reviews I’ve ever seen.

I didn’t read it all. What I did was buy the CD and proceed to fall in love with it. So even the worst of opinions can lead to a much better one. The reaction/counter reaction nature of it reminds me that one person’s opinion is never to throw me clear of my faith in myself or my dreams.

It’s okay to get hurt. To doubt. For a while. It’s never okay to put too much faith in what people outside your own head say about you, good or bad. It’s good to bear in mind that too much arrogance is as dangerous to a person’s dreams as too little confidence. Just a little, though, can be a viable tool when it comes to letting negativity roll off your back like quicksilver.

Sometimes most of us come dangerously close to forgetting to always wait for the next opinion and the next and the one after that. Take what good you can from the slings and arrows, etc., etc..

See the fabric of opinions that upholsters our lives as a flying carpet, constantly moving, shifting, and changing.

That, my friends, is the nature of the beast.